Thursday, August 6, 2015

REVIEW: Trainwreck


Amy Schumer, Bill Hader


July 17, 2015

Judd Apatow

Universal Pictures

2 hours 2 minutes



Humans, like any other mammal roaming this planet, crave sex almost as much as they have the desire to eat food and go to the bathroom. It's a natural occurrence, and in days long ago it was considered normal for people to have many suitors so their seeds can be carried out for generations to come. In today's age, that still somewhat exists, but in the end we're still expected to become monogamous, settle down, and raise a family. Amy Schumer's character in "Trainwreck," also named Amy, doesn't want to settle down just yet. She's having a bang up time sleeping around and not committing to anything serious. At least, not until she meets Bill Hader's Aaron Conners. It should be obvious to expect that their romance doesn't take off at first. They would have a period of being mad at each other somewhere in the middle of the film only to profess their love to one another and kiss as the credits begin to roll. What's to be admired so much about this Judd Apatow-directed, Amy Schumer-written film is that it has a lot more meat on its bones than one would expect.

There are several jokes in this movie that are hilarious when they are either shown on screen or spew out of the mouths of one of the characters we're coming to know and love. From Schumer's bullet-fast references to Tilda Swinton making fun of her employees to macho superstars John Cena and LeBron James even making jokes at themselves. Each character has at least one moment where they bring a laugh out of the audience watching the movie. The best way to make a comedy funny is to time a joke well, and Schumer knows how to do this. She shows this both in her screenplay and in her consistently hilarious sketches on her Comedy Central show "Inside Amy Schumer." What was the most surprising about this movie was the amount of drama it had in it.

It's one thing for a movie to have drama in it, as most comedies tend to have that dramatic "misunderstanding" moment about two-thirds of the way through it. In the case of this movie, Schumer and Apatow together managed to not only have a consistent amount of drama all the way through the film, but they also made it feel real and authentic. In case you couldn't tell by the poster, the two leads are going to end up with one another by the time the movie ends. What may be harder to see is that these two not only fall for one another, but the audience gets to see their relationship blossom and have moments of ups and downs. Just like relationships in the real world. The chemistry between Hader and Schumer helps to make their relationship not only more realistic, but also easier to feel empathetic. They never feel like characters in a movie, rather they feel like two real people who would happen to end up falling for one another. It's relieving that studios and filmmakers are taking a chance on making films like this. While they may be predictable, they have an element of realism and authenticity that helps audiences to connect with it more.

As great as certain elements in the film were, there were other things that made the film dwindle in quality. The character of Amy is made out to be a very unlikable character, and before anyone says anything about it being ok to have unlikable leads in a movie, that's not the problem being mentioned here. While Amy managed to be unlikable and great to watch at the same time, the character itself got a little too overbearing at times. There are moments in the film where the audience sees that she's unlikable, and the point's made. Unfortunately, the scene keeps going on and on, and the fact that she's unlikable gets shoved down the throats of people watching, almost to the point where it got annoying. These scenes also attribute to the fact that Judd Apatow's movies tend to overstay their welcome in terms of running time. The movie, clocking in at 122 minutes, tends to drag at times and feel a little too slow. It's fine for movies to have slow moments, but this one had a few too many of those. Had the editor taken out maybe 10-15 minutes of excessive material, the movie would have benefitted by having its scenes feel tighter and, frankly, a bit stronger.

At the end of the day, "Trainwreck" is a film that manages to be just as funny as it is dramatic. Those expecting something along the lines of a sketch from "Inside Amy Schumer" may be disappointed despite the film being very funny as a whole. The first half of the film manages to be more of a comedy while the second half substitutes the laughs for a more dramatic approach. To be honest, though, it's the drama in the movie that makes it more fascinating to watch. The reason for this is because we get to see reasons for why characters act certain ways, and how their actions lead them down the roads they travel here. Comparing this to his other works, this is neither Judd Apatow's best or worst film to date. It's a stronger film than "Funny People," but not as effective as "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" are. As for "This is 40," well, I never got around to seeing it, so I can't compare it. On its own, though, "Trainwreck" is a well-made film that stands out from most romantic comedies these days.


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